Home pageArticles - biotech and pharmacyMNT: DNA Clue Discovered For Why Women Outlive Men

MNT: DNA Clue Discovered For Why Women Outlive Men

Date: 15.8.2012 

A new study of mitochondrial DNA in fruit flies offers a number of clues that might explain why females tend to outlive males across much of the animal kingdom, including humans.

Researchers from Monash University in Australia and Lancaster University in the UK, write about their work in the 2 August online issue of Current Biology.

They found male fruit flies appear to have mutations in their mitochondrial DNA that affect how fast they age and how long they live.

Scientists use fruit flies as models for studies in genes and aging because their biological processes are remarkably similar to that of other animals, such as humans, and with a lifespan of about a month, it doesn't take too long to investigate generational effects.

Senior author Damian Dowling, a research fellow in the Monash School of Biological Sciences, told the press:

"All animals possess mitochondria, and the tendency for females to outlive males is common to many different species. Our results therefore suggest that the mitochondrial mutations we have uncovered will generally cause faster male aging across the animal kingdom."

"Intriguingly, these same mutations have no effects on patterns of aging in females. They only affect males," he added.

Mitochondria are special subunits of cells, about the same size as bacteria, that provide the energy for life. They combine sugar and oxygen into adenosine triphosphate or ATP, molecular packets of energy that are usable by cells.

Mitochondria have their own DNA that is quite separate from the cellular DNA in the nucleus of the cell...

... the whole article you can find on





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